For Immediate Release
Murdaland Mafia Piru Gang Member Sentenced to 180 Months in Prison for Federal Racketeering and Drug Conspiracy Charges
Defendant Committed Drug and Gun Offenses in Furtherance of the Gang
Baltimore, Maryland – On June 7, 2018, United States District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Melvin Lashley, a/k/a “Menace,” age 28, of Baltimore, to fifteen years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute a kilogram of more of heroin and 280 grams or more of crack cocaine. Lashley pleaded guilty to these crimes in May 2017.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Acting Special Agent in Charge Matthew Varisco of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle of the Baltimore Police Department; Chief Terrance B. Sheridan of the Baltimore County Police Department; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.
Murdaland Mafia Piru (MMP), also know as the “Mob” or “Mobsters,” was a violent subset of the Bloods gang that operated in Maryland and elsewhere beginning in or about 2011. MMP was modeled after the Italian Mafia, and was organized hierarchically with a “Don” at the top and various “Bosses,” “Underbosses,” “Capos,” “Lieutenants,” and “Mobsters” underneath. For many years, MMP controlled the drug trade in large swaths of Northwest Baltimore City. The gang’s drug shop in the 5200 block of Windsor Mill Road was particularly lucrative due to its close proximity to Interstate 70, and it frequently attracted drug customers driving from western Maryland and neighboring states. MMP’s members used violence and threats of violence—including murder—to intimidate or retaliate against witnesses, protect the gang’s territories, enforce debts, and eliminate rivals.
According to his plea agreement, Lashley admitted was a member of MMP during the dates of the racketeering conspiracy, and that he agreed with other members of MMP to conduct and participate in the gang’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity that included offenses involving drug trafficking.
In particular, Lashley admitted that on August 29, 2015, Co-Defendant 1 called Lashley from a recorded jail telephone. During the call, Lashley stated that he had recently gotten an MMP gang tattoo between his eyes. Lashley and Co-Defendant 1 also recounted an incident in which they participated in an assault and robbery of a rapper who is associated with a rival Crips gang.
On August 30, 2015, Co-Defendant 1 again called Lashley from a recorded jail telephone. Lashley recounted a recent incident in which an individual stole a drug sale worth $850 from Co-Defendant 2, and as a result, Co-Defendant 3 “beat the fu** out of him, broke his jaw and all that” and “beat his sister and his mother up.”
Between July and August 2016, law enforcement officers conducted a court-authorized wiretap of telephones belonging to Co-Defendants 2, 4, and 5. Lashley was intercepted in a number of calls over these telephone lines discussing drug transactions. For instance, in a call on July 24, 2016, Co-Defendant 2 told Lashley he was coming to get “cruddy cracks” from him—a reference to narcotics packaged for distribution. Lashley told Co-Defendant 2 that the drugs were already gone, but that he had $140 in drug proceeds for Co-Defendant 2. On July 27, 2016, in a series of calls, Lashley and Co-Defendant 2 discussed acquiring an additional supply of heroin from a stash house operator. Lashley advised Co-Defendant 2 to be careful because of a vehicle in the area they believed was being operated by federal agents.
On July 2, 2016, law enforcement officers intercepted a call in which Co-Defendant 2 advised Co-Defendant 4 that Lashley was “throwing threats to them nig**as”—a reference to rival drug dealers—and “talking ‘bout he gonna kill all y’all, I’m gonna kill all y’all.”
On September 27, 2016, law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant at Lashley’s residence in Baltimore and recovered roughly 20 grams of heroin and a loaded J.P. Sauer & Sohn .32 ACP caliber pistol belonging to Lashley. At the time, Lashley was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition due to a disqualifying felony conviction.
Lashley agreed that he conspired with other members of MMP to distribute heroin and cocaine base in furtherance of the gang, and that it was reasonably foreseeable to him that between one and three kilograms of heroin and between 280 and 840 grams of cocaine base would be distributed by members of the conspiracy.
The following twelve co-defendants, also members or associates of MMP, have all previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate federal racketeering and drug trafficking laws:
- William Banks, a/k/a “Trouble,” age 29;
- Dominick Wedlock, a/k/a “Rage,” age 30;
- Dwight Jenkins, a/k/a “Huggie,” age 48;
- William Jones, a/k/a “Smalls,” age 27;
- Jarmal Harrid, a/k/a “J-Rock,” age 27;
- Jamal Smith, a/k/a “Mal,” age 25;
- Takuma Tate, a/k/a “Oop,” age 39;
- Maurice Pollock, a/k/a “Reese,” age 22;
- Charles Blackwell, a/k/a “Ci-Bo,” age 21;
- Kenneth Torry, a/k/a “Kenny,” age 40;
- Delante Lee, a/k/a “Tay Tay,” age 22; and
- Jay Greer, a/k/a “Champagne,” age 26.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the ATF Baltimore Field Division, the Baltimore City and Baltimore County Police Departments, and the Baltimore City and Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Offices for their work in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Christina A. Hoffman and Lauren E. Perry, who are prosecuting the case.